She holds herself erect, perhaps defiant. I have summoned her.
Her curly chestnut hair tumbles onto her shoulders and frames a round face. Her eyes are large and blue, her nose small and turned up; her nostrils perhaps a little too flared. Her mouth appears tight, compressed, when closed and thin pink lips trace round it.
She is no taller than five four and of slim frame – I know she is seventeen.
She is wearing a sleeveless starched white shirt and her top two buttons are undone.
I glimpse and savour the white flesh of her neck – the V of her upper chest. She is bra-less and her prominent nipples strain against the fabric.
It is Monday, June 18th, 1973 and the weather, hot.
Her regulation navy blue skirt is just above the knees… and tight; her pale legs are bare and she is wearing black sandals.
She is facing me over my desk with her uncovered arms hanging limp at her sides.
I am the headmaster: ‘You know why you are here, Miss Green, don’t you?’
‘Was it to do with the smoking?’ She tries to sound composed but a slight tremor in her Yorkshire accent hints at anxiety.
‘As you are aware, WELL aware, we do not allow ANY of our pupils to smoke on the school premises…’
‘But I’m over sixteen and allowed to smoke legally.’ She protests weakly.
‘Yes, but you are a bad influence on the younger children – have you any idea how detrimental smoking is to your health… and what a DISGUSTING habit it is?!’ I counter.
I can see that she realises that she isn’t going to win – she will take what comes to her.
‘This isn’t the first time you’ve been cautioned: Mrs Clark warned you just a month ago – or have you forgotten so soon?’
‘No, Sir… I’m very sorry… it won’t happen again.’
‘I very much doubt that it will.’ I have the upper hand – literally.
‘I’m afraid Miss Green I have little alternative but to administer you two strokes of the cane.’
I watch her blanch as fear flashes across her attractive features.
‘Please walk over to the chair in the corner. I want you to bend over and place your palms on the seat.’
She complies and ambles over slowly; like the proverbial condemned man.
The chair’s back is against the white wall of my office. I open the cupboard behind me and bring out the standard school cane: about two foot long with a curved handle. I reflect, briefly, on all the agony that this simple implement has induced in the past.
I stride over and line myself parallel to the left of her.
‘I am going to give you two hard strokes. You are not to move till after the second one. If you do then you will receive an extra one… do you understand?’
She mutters something and then nods.
I pause and study her: her skirt is pulled tight; the material shiny over her bum. Her white arms are taut and I notice liberally speckled with small moles. Her blonde arm hairs are visibly raised, perhaps out of fear, and her thick lustrous hair hangs down round her face.
I draw back my right arm then swing the cane down with a swish across her buttocks that impacts with a loud ‘crack’.
She utters a low groan and lifts up her left leg, bent at the knees and I cannot help but notice that her calf is pale and strong. She returns her leg back into position.
Again, I swing the cane, with force, onto her buttocks.
‘Oh! My God!’ She screams and brings her hands round to grasp her backside.
‘That’s all, Green. You may return to class.’
She straightens up, all the time massaging her behind, and turns to face me, her eyes red rimmed and watering, her cheeks ruddy.
I have hurt her.
She makes for the door without uttering a word, opens it and disappears into the corridor.
I walk over to the door and close it; close it behind her. I imagine her at home later, perhaps in her bedroom naked, in front of a mirror, twisting round and probing the parallel ridged purple stripes that now adorn her lily white buttocks….